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HC judge receives letter with allegations

Sanjeev Verma , Hindustan Times   Chandigarh, November 08, 2013
First Published: 00:37 IST(8/11/2013) | Last Updated: 11:05 IST(8/11/2013)

Resuming hearing of the case of former Patiala mayor Jaspal Singh's daughter-in-law Parampreet Kaur's alleged murder on Februrary 23, justice Amol Rattan Singh on Thursday expressed surprise over a letter received by him. The letter contained allegations against the judge.

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The judge said, "One preponement (of case date) has led to letters with various allegations as a Diwali gift. I am going to make the letter part of the case. Let the investigation agency investigate the entire case. Anyway, I will hear the case."

Parampreet's father Amarjit Singh Sodhi had moved an application on October 29 seeking advancement of the date of case hearing from November 18. The court preponed the case to November 7, since a stay on the trial court proceedings was operational. Before this, the court on September 12 had ordered the special investigation team (SIT) in the case to submit the status report on October 1. Since justice Singh was not holding the court on October 1, the case was automatically adjourned to November 18.

After the October 29 order, justice Singh had received a letter with allegations against him.
SIT submits report.

The SIT, headed by Punjab's inspector general of police (crime) RPS Brar, submitted the status report on Thursday, stating that it was also exploring the possibility of conducting narco-analysis and polygraph tests on the former mayor to trace his involvement in the crime.

The report stated that Jaspal Singh joined the investigation on September 19, 20 and November 2, and call details of three cellular phones used by Jaspal Singh for the past five months were also obtained and were being examined.

The SIT mentioned that examination of the compact discs of the marriage ceremonies of Parampreet's husband Harpreet Singh and his sister Ishtpreet Kaur revealed that Jaspal had conducted ceremonies as their father. Earlier, Preetinder Singh, a Youth Akali Dal leader and Jaspal's son with his first wife had denied that his father had any relations with them.

Court denies extension to SIT

The court denied the state government's request for two more months for the SIT to complete the probe and directed it to hand over copies of the status report to all parties for addressing the arguments on November 14.

The petitioner's counsel informed the court that though the investigation agency had filed a challan before the trial court, the public prosecutor had pointed out various loopholes in the challan in which Jaspal Singh was exonerated. "They had first poisoned her (the victim) and then strangulated her. There is a systematic effort to save the mayor," the counsel said.

Vacation of stay in trial court

Harpreet and his mother Paramjit Kaur, presently confined in Patiala central jail, also moved an application for vacation of stay put by the high court on August 31 on proceedings before the trial court, but the court refused to vacate it for the time being.

The Case

Amarjit Singh Sodhi had moved the high court seeking a central bureau of investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged murder of his daughter Parampreet Kaur on February 23.

An FIR was registered on February 23 at Kotwali police station under Sections 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The state government on February 25 constituted an SIT to ascertain Jaspal Singh's role in the victim's death, but he was exonerated without joining the investigation, and the challan was presented before the trial court on March 30.

The petitioner had alleged that the agency had "opted to scuttle the investigation" by saving Jaspal, who was a multi-millionaire politician belonging to the ruling state government.

Viscera report finds poison

The chemical examiner at Kharar has found pesticides in the victim's viscera. However, the SIT has approached doctors who had conducted the postmortem to ascertain the quantity of poison in the body.

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